Friday, September 4, 2015

Significant Change to US Department of State Visa Bulletin

From Morgan Lewis, 09/03/2015

New class of cut-off dates to be created

According to multiple reliable sources, the US Department of State (State Department) is in the process of reengineering its system for determining immigrant visa availability and will unveil a new mechanism for regulating such availability in the near future. This change appears to be in response to President Obama’s call for a modernization of the immigrant visa system contained in his Immigration Accountability Executive Actions proposed in November 2014.
The current system for determining immigrant visa availability is based on a monthly Visa Bulletin published by the State Department that contains a series of cut-off dates (which often fluctuate from month to month) that are based upon the relevant foreign national’s country/region of chargeability and Employment-Based (EB) preference category. In order for a foreign national to file Form I-485 (Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status) and have this application approved, the applicant’s priority date must be “current,” meaning that the priority date must be before the relevant cut-off date listed in the Visa Bulletin applicable to the foreign national’s country/region of chargeability and EB preference category.
It is our understanding that the State Department intends to create two separate categories of cut-off dates, both of which would be reflected in each monthly Visa Bulletin. The first, an “approval” cut-off date, would function as the current cut-off date does and would regulate when an adjustment application or immigrant visa application may be approved. The second, an “acceptance” cut-off date, would regulate when an adjustment of status application may be filed and would allow the filing of such an application, provided that the foreign national’s priority date is before the relevant acceptance cut-off date. Once the adjustment application is filed, the foreign national would be eligible for the secondary benefits available to adjustment of status applicants, including employment authorization documents, advance parole authorizations, and I-140 immigrant petition portability.
It is likely that the “acceptance” cut-off dates will be several years before the “approval” cut-off dates in the China/India EB categories, with the result being that a large number of nationals from these countries will be able to file adjustment applications immediately once the Visa Bulletin containing the new acceptance cut-off dates becomes effective.
This is obviously a major development in the employment-based green card process and will be particularly welcome to nationals of India and China, some of whom currently face delays of years before they can file adjustment of status applications.
We will continue to monitor the situation closely and will provide further information as soon as it becomes available.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Delays in Production of EADs and Green Cards

Delays have been reported between the approval of a Form I-765 or I-485 and the client's receipt of the employment authorization document (EAD) or lawful permanent resident card. USCIS has confirmed that the card production facility in Corbin, Kentucky, is undergoing maintenance, and that all card production work was transferred to the facility in Lee's Summit, Missouri. As a result, there is a backlog of cases in Lee's Summit, and clients may not receive their cards until two to three weeks after approval of the underlying application. USCIS anticipates that the backlog will be resolved sometime next month.


Friday, August 14, 2015

September 2015 Visa Bulletin

From Morgan Lewis, 08/13/2015

Cutoff dates for EB-2 China and India retrogress to January 1, 2006. Cutoff dates for EB-3 China, India, and the Philippines advance to December 22, 2004.

The US Department of State (DOS) has released its September 2015 Visa Bulletin. The Visa Bulletin sets out per-country priority date cutoffs that regulate the flow of adjustment of status (AOS) and consular immigrant visa applications. Foreign nationals may file applications to adjust their statuses to that of permanent residents or to obtain approval of immigrant visas at a US embassy or consulate abroad, provided that their priority dates are prior to the respective cutoff dates specified by the DOS.

trave.state.gov

What Does The September 2015 Visa Bulletin Say?

The September 2015 Visa Bulletin shows a large retrogression of visa numbers for EB-2 China and India, and an advancement of six and a half months for the EB-3 China, Philippines, and India allotments. The cutoff date for F2A applicants in China, India, Philippines, and the worldwide categories will advance by two and a half months in September. The cutoff date for F2A applicants from Mexico will advance by three months.
EB-1: All EB-1 categories will remain current.
EB-2: The cutoff date for applicants in the EB-2 category chargeable to China will retrogress by nearly eight years, and the cutoff date for applicants in the EB-2 category chargeable to India will retrogress by two years and nine months. For both categories, the cutoff date has been set at January 1, 2006. The EB-2 category for all other countries will remain current.
EB-3: The cutoff date for applicants in the EB-3 category chargeable to the worldwide category and Mexico will advance by one month to August 15, 2015. The cutoff date for applicants in the EB-3 category chargeable to China, India, and the Philippines will advance by six and a half months to December 22, 2004.
EB-5: The cutoff date for applicants in the EB-5 category chargeable to China will advance by three weeks to September 22, 2013. The cutoff dates for applicants in the EB-5 category chargeable to the worldwide category remain current. 

The relevant priority date cutoffs for foreign nationals in the EB-2 category are as follows:

ChinaJanuary 1, 2006 (retrogression of 2,905 days)
India: January 1, 2006 (retrogression of 1,004 days)
Mexico: Current
Philippines: Current
Rest of the World: Current

The relevant priority date cutoffs for foreign nationals in the EB-3 category are as follows:

China: December 22, 2004 (forward movement of 204 days)
India: December 22, 2004 (forward movement of 204 days)
Mexico: August 15, 2015 (forward movement of 31 days)
Philippines: December 22, 2004 (forward movement of 204 days)
Rest of the World: August 15, 2015 (forward movement of 31 days)
The relevant priority date cutoffs for foreign nationals in the EB-5 category are as follows:
China: September 22, 2013 (forward movement of 21 days)
Rest of the World: Current

Developments Affecting The Eb-2 Employment-Based Category


Mexico, the Philippines, and the Rest of the World The EB-2 category for applicants chargeable to all countries other than China and India has been current since November 2012. The September Visa Bulletin indicates no change to this trend. This means that applicants in the EB-2 category chargeable to all countries other than China and India may continue to file AOS applications or have applications approved through September 2015.
China
The August Visa Bulletin indicated a cutoff date of December 15, 2013 for EB-2 applicants chargeable to China. The September Visa Bulletin indicates a cutoff date of January 1, 2006, reflecting a retrogression of 2,905 days (nearly eight years). This means that applicants in the EB-2 category chargeable to China with a priority date prior to January 1, 2006 may file AOS applications or have applications approved in September 2015.
India
The August Visa Bulletin indicated a cutoff date of October 1, 2008 for EB-2 applicants chargeable to India. The September Visa Bulletin indicates a cutoff date of January 1, 2006, a retrogression of two years and nine months. This means that applicants in the EB-2 category chargeable to India with a priority date prior to January 1, 2006 may file AOS applications or have applications approved in September 2015.

Developments Affecting The Eb-3 Employment-Based Category

ChinaThe August Visa Bulletin indicated a cutoff date of June 1, 2004 for EB-3 applicants chargeable to China. In September, the cutoff date for EB-3 applicants chargeable to China will advance by six and a half months to December 22, 2004. This means that applicants in the EB-3 category chargeable to China with a priority date prior to December 22, 2004 may file AOS applications or have applications approved in September 2015.
India 
The August Visa Bulletin indicated a cutoff date of June 1, 2004 for EB-3 applicants chargeable to India. In September, the cutoff date for EB-3 applicants chargeable to China will advance by six and a half months to December 22, 2004. This means that applicants in the EB-3 category chargeable to India with a priority date prior to December 22, 2004 may file AOS applications or have applications approved in September 2015.
The Philippines
The August Visa Bulletin indicated a cutoff date of June 1, 2004 for EB-3 applicants chargeable to the Philippines. In September, the cutoff date for EB-3 applicants chargeable to China will advance by six and a half months to December 22, 2004. This means that applicants in the EB-3 category chargeable to the Philippines with a priority date prior to December 22, 2004 may file AOS applications or have applications approved in September 2015.
Mexico 
The August Visa Bulletin indicated a cutoff date of July 15, 2015 for EB-3 applicants chargeable to Mexico. The September Visa Bulletin indicates a cutoff date of August 15, 2015, reflecting forward movement of one month. This means that applicants in the EB-3 category chargeable to Mexico with a priority date prior to August 15, 2015 may file AOS applications or have applications approved in September 2015.
Rest of the World 
The August Visa Bulletin indicated a cutoff date of July 15, 2015 for EB-3 applicants chargeable to the worldwide category. The September Visa Bulletin indicates a cutoff date of August 15, 2015, reflecting forward movement of one month. This means that applicants in the EB-3 category chargeable to the worldwide category with a priority date prior to August 15, 2015 may file AOS applications or have applications approved in September 2015.